Wednesday, 22 January, 2020
Israeli minister in Cairo amid Egyptians’ opposition

Israeli minister in Cairo amid Egyptians’ opposition

The Israeli regime’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz arrived in Cairo on Sunday to attend a natural gas conference in a rare visit to Egypt by an Israeli official, airport sources said.

The visit has been widely opposed by Egyptians who, like most Arabs, are largely opposed to the normalization of ties with Israel given the regime’s atrocities against the Palestinian nation.

Steinitz’s visit came at the invitation of the Egyptian government, Israel’s energy ministry said.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab states to have full diplomatic ties with Israel, but the relations remain limited and taboo among the general populations.

The last time an Israeli minister visited Egypt was in November 2017 when Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel took part in a conference on the promotion of gender equality in Mediterranean states.

Relations between the Israeli regime and some Arab countries have warmed in recent months, with Israeli ministers last year visiting the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

A November report by the UK-based Arabic newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have been working together to persuade other Arab leaders to establish close trade ties with Israel while working to resolve political differences with the Tel Aviv regime as well.

The push came as part of US President Donald Trump’s so-called peace plan for the Middle East region.

MbS and Sisi have explored possible ways to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that would prompt as many Arab countries as possible to give relations with Israel another chance.

The Egyptian proposal to hold a summit with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority is one of the possible solutions that the two close allies might have in store to further their agenda, the report said.

Last week, the Egyptian president acknowledged that his administration has maintained very deep relations with the Tel Aviv regime and is engaged in military cooperation with Israel in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Sisi made the rare acknowledgment during an interview with US television network CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which was aired last Sunday.

This comes as Egypt, under Sis’s rule, has quietly cooperated with Israel on security in the desert peninsula.

Asked whether the cooperation was the closest and deepest that he has had with Israel, Sisi responded, "That is correct. The Air Force sometimes needs to cross to the Israeli side. And that's why we have a wide range of coordination with the Israelis."

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